A Quiet Theater, “A Quiet Place”


Photo taken from the verge.com

Going into the theater, we weren’t quite aware of how well the movie would live up to its title. The loudest sounds in the theater included the munching of buttery popcorn, the crinkling noise of candy wrappers being opened, and the crunching sound of nachos. Silence never sounded so terrifying in John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place. The constant silence was able to create a dramatic reaction from the film’s viewers when there there was sound. This silent film kept us on the edge of our seats, with our thumbs plugged into our ears and fingers over our eyes. 

Photo courtesy of imbd.com

This PG-13 horror movie was released on April 6th, and critics are already raving about how terrifying and intense this thriller is. A family of five struggles to survive living in desolate silence while their town is occupied by blind monsters. “If they hear you, they’ll hunt you” are the words they live by because, even though the monsters are blind and can’t smell, they have a heightened sense of sound and hunt by ear.

This movie is unique in that it contains a small number of characters. A Quiet Place stars John Krasinski (you might recognize him for his role as Jim Halpert in The Office), who also directed the film; his on-screen and off-screen wife Emily Blunt; Millicent Simmonds, who is deaf both in the movie and in real life; Noah Jupe; and Cade Woodward.

With 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, A Quiet Place has movie critics invested in the characters while actively participating in the on-screen fear. The fear of making a sound not only tests the family in the movie, but also plays with the viewers’ senses. Every time a character makes noise in the movie, the sudden break in the deep silence has characters and viewers jumping up in fear. Critics are calling it “a nerve-shredder.”  On rogerebert.com, Brian Tallerico says in his review, “It’s a film that’s about empowerment more than sheltering, and it’s that emotional hook that really elevates the final act.” According to forbes.com, Krasinski’s movie made $50 million this past weekend alone.

Students at the school have mixed feelings about the film. “It’s not awful, I just thought Krasinski could have done more with it,” said Sarah Rothschild (’18). “There could have been more depth in the story, like where they came from and how they got there.” She also mentioned that she thought the movie lacked a main plotline. Nikita Mahadeo (’18) agreed that there could have been more plot, and while she said that she liked the ideas behind the movie, she also found it predictable.

Yet, there are still some aspects of the movie that students found appealing. “I saw this movie the Saturday it came out. It was my birthday and I wanted to see a movie,” said Jack Freiser (’20). “I found a few plot holes throughout the movie, except those plot holes would be hard to change in order for this movie to be like it is. So I would not change anything about this movie.” Another appealing aspect was the silence. “It makes the audience quiet, and you try not to make sounds too, like it is in the movie,” said Britney Polanco (’18). “The silence makes the audience pay attention and focus.” Both Polanco and Rothschild agreed that the silent aspect of the film added to the terror. “I really liked that because you don’t see that at all anymore—silent movies,” said Rothschild. “It reminded me of the old silent movies, like Metropolis.”

Polanco said that the silence made the movie stand apart from other horror movies that are released today. “I think it’s a good movie, I don’t think it’s fantastic,” said Polanco. Both Polanco and Rothschild agree that it is not worth the hype. But the movie makes you wonder, how can a family go for so long without making any noise? Many viewers, including ourselves, struggled to not make noise for five seconds before our taste buds took over our minds again.

“I had two favorite scenes,” said Freiser. “My first favorite scene was when the two children were stuck in the corn silo. It was very suspenseful and also a very intriguing scene that had me at the edge of my seat the whole time. My second favorite scene was when Emily Blunt had to give birth in the bathtub while being absolutely silent. [This scene to me] was so suspenseful and it just made me so nervous and I was really going to be sad if she was not able to deliver this baby without making a noise. Those were the two scenes that made my skin crawl and made me love this movie even more.”

In our opinions, while the movie was suspenseful and interesting, we thought that there could have been more development throughout the story and that there were some parts of the film that were predictable and just didn’t make sense. One major point in the story is that the adults’ intelligence is what has enables them to survive for so long, besides the fact that they all know sign language since their daughter is deaf, yet there are certain things that seem to contradict that. For example, if they knew that living in certain loud areas provides cover, why didn’t they stay there instead of going out in the open? And if they were able to create safe zones where they could speak and not be heard, why didn’t they utilize that from the start? It also made us question why the movie ended the way it did. That’s not to say that the characters didn’t use their intelligence to their advantage. In many parts of the film, we see the characters using clever tactics to evade the creatures. The movie was slow-paced, and while that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it made the ending feel abrupt when the action finally started to pick up.

However, there were many aspects that we enjoyed. The movie was the right mix of emotional and thrilling, and it explored many important themes, including how fear shapes a person’s character, the power of silence, and how much parents are willing to sacrifice to protect their children. We found that the silent aspect was unique and added a new element that we don’t often see in horror films today, which usually utilize loud bangs, screaming, and violence. The silence added to the suspense and terror and made us conscious of the noise in the theater, almost incentivizing us to remain silent.

Overall, we all enjoyed A Quiet Place. But while it was certainly unique, we’re not sure if it’s worth the hype. Perhaps you should go see it for yourself! Here is a link to the trailer.